Well, Bri and I are still on Council Island. Case left this morning on my bike, dressed in my leathers, with Jonathan following along.
I objected rather loudly, but was over ruled. It didn't help that I'd done the same thing for him once– and the fact that one of us had to stay with Bri. I just hate knowing that he's at risk protecting me.
Mrs Walker tried to keep my mind on other things, but it only works for so long. The job is one thing– but when somebody brings it home like this.
I didn't take it very well at all.
I think if Bri weren't there I'd have lost it– but she was happily chasing geese, safe in the knowledge that her daddy would return. Sometimes I wish I could be so sure.
It was late by the time he came back. He and Jonathan were giggling– punch drunk. They'd led the people following me on a merry chase and then lost them– so the bad guys regrouped and the Star followed them home.
They were so ticked off– and it was a good thing I wasn't there. Seems my friends in leather, the ones who'd stolen my bike were trying to collect on the ‘debt' their mage claimed I owed her. She had a spell all set for me.
It had no effect on Case or Jonathan.
She was ticked off, claiming I had no honor. Like following me, trying to scare me, control me is honorable– like stealing from the person who came to help you is honorable.
At least its put things in perspective for me.
According to mom walker it's a good thing, because now I don't feel that there is a debt– and that frees me from anything the woman might try to do.
Mom is right, the woman doesn't understand the first thing about honor. I can say that now– without any doubts. To demand honor from another requires that you behave honorably. I can see that now.
Finally things are settling back to business as usual. I was glad that the week's activities and logs showed only average activity. I'd hate to have been out when things were really bad. I guess that's why Case kept me away from the scanner.
It was a good week though– I got to spend time with my daughter, who's really practicing for her terrible twos now. And she only fell down twice while chasing the geese. I'm proud of her.
We had two accidents involving our people– one motorcycle and one truck. They guys on the bus were all right, but the motorcycle was pretty bad. It was Smythe, one of my first trainees.
I visited him at lunch. He's looking pretty good all things considered. Crazy old fool was talking about getting back out there as soon as possible. Looks like he'll be running the training classes next go ‘round.
I told him he didn't have to keep on, he told me he did. I couldn't argue with that. I'd have said the same thing. I have said the same thing.
We're crazy– the job is insane, dangerous and unpredictable– and there's nowhere else any of us would rather be.
Dedication or insanity take your pick– but we all seem to have a double helping of it.
First night back on the job and it wasn't too bad. It was well after 0200 when I realized that there was a knot in my stomach and by then the shift was practically over. As a matter of fact I was perfectly fine until I got a call near the Arcology.
By the time I got there I was jumping at shadows– until I found my victim and started working on him. It turns out he wasn't hurt, not physically at any rate. He kept saying something about ‘the one' and muttered about ‘true power.' I kept him stable and calm until the ambulance arrived and somebody carried him out of there.
I was about to leave, when I caught the blue glow out of the corner of my eye. It was the ghost image– again.
I wondered if he was trying to warn me this time– or just curious to see what I was up to. I don't know. I'm beginning to think I never will.
Another month down, and I'd like to say that everything is normal– but it isn't. No matter where I go, or what I do I can't get the attack out of my mind and its starting to effect my work.
I mean, you can't rightly treat a patient when you're constantly looking over your shoulder. Hell, I can't even ride right, knowing what might be waiting for me when I get where I'm going.
After shift I went in and checked the schedule. I'm switching with McKenick for day shift. At least then I'll have a better chance of assessing the situation and might have a better chance of actually getting to the scene. Besides how many people setup ambushes at accident sites?
McKenick was more than understanding, and as a matter of fact was getting tired of dealing with the rush hour follies.
I guess it was a win/win situation. I hope so at least.
I'm not sure how I got through tonight's shift. I think the only thing going for me was the fact that I knew I only had two more nights of well, nights and then I'd be back on day shift. I saw the figure in blue again: always around the Arcology anymore– nowhere else.
And of course– I'm the only one who sees him.
I'd think I was losing my mind if it weren't for the fact that I'd lost it a long time ago, when I first put on my helmet and joined the forces of extreme medicine.
Part of me will miss the night shift– the party calls, the interesting evenings that you never hear what was behind all the odd occurrences and the ones where you do. Don't get me wrong– odd things happen during the day too– and I guess its time I face some of those.
We'll see how it goes.
All I can say is, I'm glad this was my last Friday night for a while. Between people recreating to the point of cardiac arrest, muggings, car thefts, break ins and shootings– I definitely had my fill.
I'm beginning to think that someone didn't want me to miss working nights, especially with the last call. I'd been clear and back at the station a hole ten minutes when the call came in: attempted suicide.
Now, I'm not officially certified to talk people down, but since the only other person on the scene was from Lone Star and had never talked to a suicide– it fell to me to do the job.
I never really thought about how little I like open heights. I mean– if I'm enclosed I could be anywhere... but climbing out on a crane, especially at night is enough to set me on edge.
Now they tell you not too get too close– physically or emotionally. You're supposed to be understanding and sympathetic– but not involved. Easy for the people writing the books to say– I don't think I could ever do that. I'm there to help and if I remain impassive– just listening and giving platitudes... its going to ring so false it isn't even funny.
The man had lost everything. His wife had died, his daughter lost herself in the matrix, then ran away– he had nothing. I honestly didn't know what to say, and I told him as much. Then I told him about when things were at their worst for me.
I think the worst time in my life had been when I first came out here. I was alone– the boys were gone– Aaron showed up.
I think that reached him. He asked me how– how did I go on. I honestly don't know– but I do know that all it took was one thing. One reason to hold on and keep fighting– and that that one thing is different for everybody.
He looked at me and nodded. He understood, or at least I thought he did– right before he jumped... and levitated himself away. As he did, he pantomimed tipping a hat and bowing. I'd been part of tonight's diversion– whatever it was.
When I woke up, Case had a very special dinner planned/prepared for me. I realized that I would be seeing less of Bri during the day– but Case and I would be seeing more of her together– and we'd be seeing more of each other.
Sometimes it feels like we're the crew of a ship: only seeing the other between shifts. Starting Monday, we're on the same schedule. I think we both could use some of that. For however long it lasts. I'm not going to kid myself and say that everything will be perfect now. We'll always have to work things in– it's the nature of our business. Still you make the most of the time you have and don't worry about the rest.
It was a nice evening. The three of us went down to Kobe Terrace Park and watched the sunset over the sound– then we headed back to the house.
Where life interrupted.
Patrick O'Hare was there with a car– waiting for Case. Something had broken in a case they were working on and I knew that it was going to be just me and Bri for a while. I kissed him good-bye and put Bri to bed.
Such is life I guess.
Copyright 2000 M.T. Decker